The Northwest Stream Center is a favorite unsung spot on the south side of Everett. Great escape from the mayhem of traffic and the building boom going on nearby. The restriction on the number of visitors allowed access for every half hour ensures a serene experience of the half mile accessible elevated walkway. What a great opportunity to “walk on water” without getting feet wet. The experience of being surrounded by the bright yellow spathes of these harbingers of spring is difficult to find anywhere without this sort of access.

While closer to home we may have other indicators of the season of burgeoning renewal of life, this extravaganza is well worth a visit.

Emerging leave and blossoms of Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis.

In our own yard, the Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis, has been blooming this last week.

I love the way these pendulous bright spots appear like twinkly lights against the darker forest understory.

The Swamp Lanterns, or “skunk cabbage” as they are often called. are less visible in passing. The NW Stream Center makes the effort to seek them out, up close and in their midst, well worth cost in time and money.

Event: Northwest Stream Center Swamp Lantern Festival

Reservations recommended, by calling 425-316-8592, no more than 30 people per 1/2 hour.  Adults over 18 -$7, Seniors – $6, Students -$5, EBT cardholders -$3, children under 5 –free; Adopt A Stream Foundation Members free. – no dogs allowed. Driving Directions.

Celebrate the coming of spring at Adopt A Stream Foundation’s Swamp Lantern Festival 10am to 4pm (last admission at 3pm), Thursdays through Sundays, now through April.  It’s happening at the Northwest Stream Center in Snohomish County’s Mc Collum Park (600 – 128th Street SE, Everett WA 98208 – 

The featured attraction is a large expanse of one of the first spring flowers of the Pacific NW – Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) shown above. Surrounding each flower, called a spadix, is a vibrant yellow sheath called a spathe that earned this beautiful plant the nickname “Swamp Lantern.”

Swamp Lantern Festival at the Northwest Stream Center

(more from the press release) “Getting to the “swamp lanterns” is an adventure.  You will stroll past a unique Trout Stream Exhibit onto an Elevated Nature Walk just above the forest floor and wetlands. The 1/2 mile-long route is baby carriage and wheelchair accessible.  It winds through duck ponds and cedar groves, past a salmon stream, and through four varieties of wetlands.  Rest stops are located at strategic viewpoints.  During the Swamp Lantern Festival, many other native flowers begin blooming. The Northwest Stream Center is a “must see” for everyone who enjoys wildflowers of spring. 

“Unlike many outdoor venues, the NW Stream Center limits the number of visitors to fewer than 30 per half-hour. This limit ensures a delightful and un-crowded outdoor experience.   Most visitors spend over an hour on the Nature Walk enjoying the views and gathering knowledge about stream and wetland ecology from interpretive signs.  Be sure to call 425-316-8592 to reserve your preferred date and time.”


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